United Way of Palm Beach County Receives $4.5 Million from Palm Beach County for Hunger Relief Efforts
Organization Will Match Federal Funding with Portion of MacKenzie Scott Gift
Since 2015, United Way of Palm Beach County has been the trusted leader of the county-wide Hunger Relief Plan through the contributions of significant funding, coordination of resources, and advocacy to alleviate hunger in our community. On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, the Palm Beach County Commissioners approved $4,529,858 under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funding to be released to United Way of Palm Beach County to continue this important work.
“This funding is absolutely critical to address hunger relief needs and create sustainable solutions for our community,” said Laurie George, President and CEO, United Way of Palm Beach County. “We could not do this important work without the County’s partnership, and we look forward to seeing how this investment in critical infrastructure will allow us and our hunger relief partners to provide more nutritious food to more people.”
This muiti-year funding from the Board of County Commissioners will provide funding assistance for the expansion of hunger relief systems that will increase food bank storage and food processing capacity. United Way of Palm Beach County is providing an additional $4 million investment in hunger relief efforts from the $10 million gift received in the fall of 2020 from MacKenzie Scott. The overall goal of this initiative is to alleviate hunger in the short-term while also promoting Palm Beach County residents’ self-sufficiency in the long-term.
Funding will be used to increase food bank capacity with expansion and enhancements to the current food distribution programs, including working with the Palm Beach County Food Bank to operate a commercial kitchen and food processing facility, expanding food bank storage capacity, and purchasing equipment, such as forklifts, pallet jacks, and scales, to ensure that the facility is fully functional.
The additional warehouse space will have tremendous benefit to the community by featuring an enhanced volunteer center, space for additional programs such as senior food programs and other community services, space to process fresh produce, an area for food preparation, and a commercial teaching kitchen to be used for job training programming, nutrition education classes, and fundraising events with local chefs.
The anticipated outcomes of this project include: increasing the volume of nutritious food distributed to Palm Beach County residents experiencing hunger; providing economic opportunities for the community through low-cost office space for nonprofits and local entrepreneurs, job creation, and workforce training; and ultimately, significantly reducing the number of food insecure PBC residents.
Since the collective work on the Palm Beach County Hunger Relief Plan commenced nearly seven years ago, the Palm Beach County Government has been a vital partner to addressing hunger relief needs in our community. Through the dedicated partnership of the County and 180 other local community organizations, Palm Beach County saw an 8% reduction in food insecure Palm Beach County residents, including a 17.2% reduction in food insecure children by 2019 (Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap Report). Still, more than 181,340 residents in Palm Beach County struggle with hunger; 52,580 of these residents are children who do not have enough to eat on a daily basis.*
*Gundersen, C., M. Hake, A. Dewey, E. Engelhard (2021). The Impact of the Coronavirus on Food Insecurity in 2020 & 2021, Update March 2021 [Data file and FAQ]. Available from Feeding America: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To learn more about Ms. Scott’s gift, please click here to read her full Medium article announcing the donation.
- Read United Way of Palm Beach County’s public announcement about receiving this transformational gift.
- Read the heartfelt thank you letter on behalf of United Way of Palm Beach County’s staff and Board of Directors here.
- Watch a video message from Laurie George regarding an update on MacKenzie Scott’s gift.
- Read our blog post: MacKenzie Scott Gift – Year 1 Impact.
- Read the Medium article response from 48 local United Ways to MacKenzie Scott on what her gift has meant to communities around the country.
For media inquiries, please contact Traver McLaughlin, Senior VP of Marketing and Communications, TraverMcLaughlin@UnitedWayPBC.org.
About United Way of Palm Beach County:
United Way of Palm Beach County is Trustworthy, Efficient and A Champion for our community. For more than 90 years, United Way has worked as a connector by bringing together people and resources to tackle complex issues and create positive change to help our community thrive. Our team, volunteers and 61 partner agencies work every day to ensure that Palm Beach County residents have access to basic needs: a quality education, a place to live, financial stability, good medical care, and enough to eat.
Giving to United Way of Palm Beach County is the best way for you to make a difference in our community. We carefully and efficiently invest your dollars in vetted programs that are producing positive, long-term impact. Gifts made to United Way of Palm Beach County are used to help everyone in our community reach their full potential, and the impact of each gift will be multiplied when combined with others.